Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Cleaning - Phase 1

Didn't know what I was I looking for
Maybe just a blanket or artifacts

I'm such a mess that I always have to take my cleaning in phases. I don't do it very often, but when I do, it's always a major to-do. Corey calls it "puttering," and when I'm in "putter mode" he knows better than to distract me too much because I'm on a mission.

It all started when I got a new bookcase. I put it togther and put it in the spot I had designated for it (next to the TV - in plain sight from my chair a.k.a. the command center) only to discover that the damn thing was crooked. I know it wasn't my fault - it's just a cheap bookcase whose parts were not measured properly. If I was in a real house that I actually owned and wanted to actually decorate, I would have just tossed it and gotten a better one - but since it doesn't really matter at this point what my apartment looks like, I figured I'd make the best of it and just switch it out with my other (nicer) bookcase so I wouldn't have to see it all the time and be annoyed by its crookedness.

In order to fill my bookcases the way I wanted them, I had to go through and toss some stuff. I'm not amazed at how much crap I've accumulated, but I marveled at the stuff I've kept for so long.

This got me to thinking about how you let go of certain things at certain stages of your life. Things and pieces of paper I couldn't let go of two years ago when I moved in were suddenly utterly disposable to me.

For example, I've had so much teaching stuff for so long that I just didn't throw away for some reason - like maybe I'd need it if I decided to teach again or if I might want to tutor. But now that stuff just seems like a burden. I know I never want to teach again, so it was easy to let go of this time. I also came across about half a dozen packets from the graduate school at UNCG that I had held onto. It just seemed silly to keep them now. That doesn't mean that I've given up on grad school, but it does mean that practicality has taken over - because most of the info in those packets has changed by now.

But then, I had all kinds of stuff from high school - a copy of a poem my first boyfriend had written for the high school literary magazine, worksheets I thought contained useful information, etc. I had lesson plans and writing cues I had sketched out for a creative writing class I thought about teaching a couple years ago. I still can't throw any of those away. And it's impossible for me to willfully throw away any blank paper - there are just too many possiblities and too much promise for a blank piece of paper.

I reckon some things are impossible to toss.

Although the dancin' dude is distracting, this is a great version of "Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart" by Whiskeytown.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Where Blogs Cross Over

I wanted to post this here because I forgot how much I think I like this segment of my unnamed novel that I haven't even really developed yet. I think I'll really like this character though.

I wrote this a year or so ago, and I recently had another idea about it, so I took out this section to look at it and get my bearings again. Again, I forgot how much I think I like it.

So please leave some feedback - even if it's negative. I won't be (too) mad at you if you don't like it. And whatever you may suggest, I'll probably agree with it. Just let me know what you think.

The old place still looked the same, if not a little neglected. Owen had bought it five years ago to celebrate his debut album going platinum - and to celebrate expendable income. All of his friends and “people” thought he was nuts to keep it. He was hardly ever here. But this was one of those times when he needed it more than he could ever explain to his “people.”

The very concept of “people” seemed so distant up here in the wild Smokies. Owen was thankful for it. His people had become more like a mob begging to be warmed in his celebrity’s light. One thing no one could understand - barely even himself - was that he absolutely could not forget his roots. As much as he tried to play the part of brilliant balladeer and badass rocker, he still felt backwoods among all the glittery hoopla of being the focus of the public’s eye.

He dropped his bags where he stood in the middle of the small living room. It was obvious that the cleaning service he had hired to give the place a good spit and shine before his arrival had come and gone - and had actually done an amazing job. Everything was as he left it over a year ago when he came with Shayla. He had been afraid the sight of the hearth rug would bring back the pain of beautiful memories that could only be memories from now on. But it was as if she’d never existed. He’d written his way out of the funk, screamed his pain in a digital riot, toured with it, and grown tired of it. Well. At least he’d gotten his third album out of it. A good one, if he did say so himself.

Owen inhaled the old familiar scent of aged lumber and collapsed on the large corduroy couch. He smiled to himself in the promise of a good solid two months of enjoying the cabin he secretly regarded as his home. He loved the place. Wood, real fabric, stone, a porch. His apartment in Nashville was nice, and he enjoyed it. But it just didn’t feel right for some reason. It seemed to be fabricated instead of built. Not sterile or false, but…sugar-coated. Those country roots showing again. But the critics (the friendly ones anyway) always said that was part of what made his music so good. Well, it used to anyway.

Writer’s block. A dam holding up the river of his genius. Blah Blah. That was why he was here, wasn’t it? To remember the bard within. Wasn’t that the bullshit line he’d fed his management? Seemed to work because it was partly true. The other part wasn’t quite as clear even to Owen. But again, he was here to figure all that out. In the meantime, didn’t he leave an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels in the kitchen last year?

Owen peeled himself off the couch and ambled into the small, but fully-equipped kitchen. Shit. Owen mused. I might actually be able to cook a real meal while I’m here. Another residual effect of a mountain upbringing: the desire for a good home-cooked meal. How long had it been? Owen decided not to even consider that, and instead started making a mental list of the things he’d get at the grocery store in town. First things first, though.

He took his bottle of Jack out onto the back porch. He smiled at the very sight of his beloved hot tub. Just big enough for two, built-in fridge, built-in stereo. Hallelujah for the science of luxury. He set his whiskey down on the porch floor and struggled for a few minutes to remove the hot tub’s cover. He smiled. The cleaning service had not forgotten his request to get the hot tub ready. God bless ‘em. Fame and money sometimes had their perks. Owen started to head back into the house to fetch his CD wallet, but decided he needed to reacquaint himself with the music of the woods. So he turned the jets on, stripped down to nothing, grabbed his whiskey, and hopped into the steaming, bubbling water. “Oh fuck yeah,” he moaned.

He settled into one of the molded fiberglass lounges, lay his head back and looked up at the sky. He had forgotten how a sky full of stars fringed by trees could make him feel all that he was. Perspective became a study and the world reminded him that he was on it. Owen sighed as he opened his ears to the sound of crickets, cicadas, and the occasional night bird. The breeze dragged its delicate honeysuckle fingers over his scruffy face and through his wild black curls. He practically shuddered with the tenable glory of the sensation. Oh God, why can’t I stay here longer? It never seemed to be long enough. He always got used to something just in time for it to change. Stop it. Just be, y’ moron.

Owen spent nearly an hour watching the brilliant, big sliver of moon shrink, climb the sky, and change color from orange to yellow to milky white. He was just beginning to doze off when he swore he heard the faintest hint of a guitar playing over the ridge. Something bittersweet and beautiful. He decided that the half bottle of whiskey he had killed was sending him back on tour. Fearful of drowning with the memory of the tour rushing through his veins, he dragged himself out of the hot tub bound for his bed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring's A-Comin'

And I'm thrilled. I really hate hot weather, but I hate a lull even more. And everything has been in a lull lately.

But all that seems to be changing, thank goodness. The season is shrugging off its overcoat and coming out to play. And it's about damn time. Suddenly everything seems to be waking up, including me.

My brian has been sparking with ideas for my books and stories ever since I started working on my little inspiration project, Corey and I are getting geared up for a lot of hiking and our little vacation in April. I've only got one more quarter left of classes after this one (THANK GOD), and suddenly I'm energized. I'm itching to do some spring cleaning, I feel the need to get rid of some stuff, and I want to discover new things and ideas and moments.

It's a-comin' y'all. Hope you're ready for it. :^)

By the way, new post on my live journal if you're so inclined.

Yay Spring!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Why are we surrounded by crazy people?

Toys in the attic,
I am crazy.
Truly gone fishing.
They must have taken my marbles away.
Toys in the attic, he is crazy.

I'll just be brief here and explain none of the circumstances because thinking and worrying about it any further might put me over the edge too.

Corey and I and a couple of my friends and I have often discussed the fact that we are indeed surrounded by crazy people. It's like we have a big damn "kick me with the crazy" sign on our backs. Many (a majority) of the people we know and are even friends with are completely out of their minds and in a constant state of emotional train wreckage.

What the hell? How did this happen, and why is everybody suddenly afflicted with the mental illness du jour? I don't know about y'all, but I'm sick and tired of all the crazy. On a broader scale, I'm sick and tired of half the population claiming to be either "bi-polar" or "emotionally unstable." I totally understand that some folks are truly ill and in need of help, but most others are just being pussies.

Why the hell can't folks just learn how to get over themselves and deal with it?

By the way, new post on my Livejournal blog.

Here's The Trial scene in The Wall (from whence the above lyrics came). If the weird animation is going to offend you, don't watch it.

What would you most like to see on my new website for unpublished writers?